From the Journals of Mairena the Traveller, vol IV

Of all the maritime customs I encountered in my voyages, the most unusual, pervasive, and society-shaping is that of the inhabitants of the Western Archipelagos. Like the Darland Coast, they hold that the Prophet came from on high, that the Adversary lurks in the ocean depths, that any child born at sea is subject to possession by a demon, and that the end of the world itself will be brought about by such a sea-born child. Unlike the Darlanders with their wealth of land and resources, life among the Archipelagos requires much travel and trade, and they chose not to ban women from their ships, but to separate them. Vessels in the west are crewed entirely by either men or women, and though they mingle on land like anywhere else, at sea they brook no contact with one another. Even the hulls are color-coded, bright red for the women and gleaming white for the men, that other ships may know from a distance which sex crews them.

The men's ships put to port much as any ship would in the absence of the taboo, save that women are not allowed on board at all, even for the briefest of stays above-decks with an escort, no matter how much your narrator begged for a tour. I even tried to eye a glimpse of the hold of one by dressing as a dock-boy and loading cargo onto it, but the high-cut shirts and tight trousers of the local fashion stymied my plan, perhaps intentionally. I did obtain stories from sailors in dock-side taverns for the price of a mug, and learned nothing of interest to you, my reader.

Boarding one of the women's ships to continue my journey was by far the more interesting half of the tale. In the Archipelago's ports, there is a large walled section known as the Moon Town (or, by the crude, as the Blood Town). The only gates on land are guarded by women at all times, and men are never allowed within on pain of emasculation. To gain access, I had to endure an exceedingly private audience, in which a stern matron confirmed that the blood moon was upon me, as proof that I could not possibly with child. While the occupants are allowed to leave at any time, they may only re-enter at this time of month. Even the guards for the two sides of the gate are different and live upon different sides. There is also a rather brisk business in pleasant inns on the outside of the wall, that offers discounts on stays by the week for women who wish to embark but timed their arrival poorly.

Once within, I found a thriving dockside town, populated entirely by women and serving the likewise all-female crews of the gaudy red ships lined up on that side of the harbor. They seemed exceedingly happy and carefree, much more so than the womenfolk of other ports that I have laid call in. From there, I booked passage to Riordes by way of the Calamitous Shore, and put to sea. The truth of the ships' hulls was proven when we were rounding the Hornspur, and the scout, a girl of no more than fourteen years, began to shout that there were pirates on the horizon. In all the bustle that ensued, I was able to ask the first mate how they knew the other ships were pirates, given that all I could spy with my scrying-glass was a pair of red and white hulls with none of the markings I have previously described as a warning to hand over cargo or die. She replied that it was precisely because there were two ships, one red and one white. Merchant caravans travel like with like, that they may help each other if trouble strikes upon the waves. The pirates traveled with one ship of each type, that they might be able to board with impunity any ship they might overtake, whether crewed by women or men, without even the appearance of mingling at sea.

I was skeptical that such a prohibition would hold even with those so far outside the law, but the proof of the matter came late that day, when the pirates overtook us. Though both fired shots, aiming to rend our sails and cripple us, only red ship pulled alongside to board. It was a pitched battle, like two wildcats in a sack, but we repelled them, and our grenadier set their sails alight, which consumed their attention once we disengaged. The men aboard the white ship cheered what I later discovered were mostly their wives, and unloaded shot upon us, but never once made a move to come on-board, though it would easily have turned the tide of battle, and they made no effort to help their companions deal with the fire. (Which they extinguished—even though they threatened my life, I admit that it would have made sick to see them die, especially while their husbands held still and did nothing to help them.)

I am glad to report that the rest of the trip was entirely uneventful, giving me time to learn a smattering of Calamite vocabulary (enough to make it clear that it's a distant cousin of Antuvian, giving credence to the theory that the lost colony of Anutuvia once lay on the Calamitous Shore), as well as hone my skills at shuffle-ball and stumble through many a shanty best sung when drunk and far from the company of men.

A rose by any other name would stab as painfully.

In the year 3497, the Most Sarcastic and Contempt-Filled Empire completely routed the forces of the Bug-Ugly Squidheaded Freaks at the battle of Whew, That Was An Ass-Kicking, conquering You Call That A Homeworld? and ending the brief period of hostilities. Military historians generally agree that the intelligence provided by the Booger and the Dust Bunny during their fly-bys of the system was instrumental to the positioning of the stealth battleships Russell's Teapot, Invisible Pink Unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster, and Yahweh during the battle. The brunt of the offensive was dealt by the Dirty Joke and the Suspiciously Phallic Object, while effective avenues of enemy retreat were blocked by the Coca-Cola Bottle, the Roach Motel, the Velvet Elvis Painting, and the Your Mom. The latter was particularly noteworthy for its interception and capture of the Squidhead ship bearing the fleeing heads of state. By the time the recently-constructed Planetfucker-class dreadnaught Whatever You Squidheads Find Most Terrifying and/or Offensive got within range of You Call That A Homeworld?, the fighting was already over.

An Excerpt from Njáls Saga 2.0

And then did Snorri post to the message board that Björn was a twit who could not find his ass with two hands and Google Maps, and he linked to his Flickr account where Björn was drunk and passed out at Uppsala. When Björn learnt of this, he flew into a rage, and insulted Snorri's mother. Seizing his sword, he charged off to avenge his name, but Siðrun called him on his Nokia and reminded him the law did not sanction killing for this crime, so Björn sent Snorri a DMCA takedown notice instead.

All Your Bases Are Loaded

I recently came across a small, spherical object that would, to the casual observer, appear to be a baseball. However, written across its surface were the words "Texas Rangers Baseball Club". Thus, it was clearly not just a baseball, but rather a baseball club. The only possible explanation is that this is, in fact, a relic from an alternate universe, or possibly a remnant of an altered past due to meddling time travellers.

In the world from which it came, the Texas Rangers must have used such baseball clubs as their primary weapon to subdue lawbreakers. They probably beat on the perpetrators in a club-like manner, leading to the name, and held back the option to pitch the baseball club at high speed and bean people in the head for more dire emergencies, due to the risk of becoming disarmed. They likely went around wearing bandoliers full of extra baseball clubs, ready for pitching at a moment's notice, garnering them a reputation as fearsome and tireless enforcers of justice.

Of course, if the baseball club was such a dangerous weapon, no one would dream of playing with it. Instead, they probably had a sport wherein a shooter would unload his six-gun towards home plate, and a batter would try to catch the bullets by embedding them in a wooden bat. If they caught the bullet, they would then fling the bat into the air, and the other team would scramble to retrieve it for use in beating the runner into submission. Being an umpire was a very dangerous job, and required the extensive use of body armor and plexiglass shields.